Frank Miller's Daredevil and the Ends of Heroism (Comics Culture) (Paperback)

By Paul Young

Rutgers University Press, 9780813563817, 292pp.

Publication Date: July 27, 2016

Other Editions of This Title:
Hardcover (7/27/2016)

List Price: 30.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


2017 EISNER AWARD NOMINEE for Best Academic/Scholarly Work

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, writer-artist Frank Miller turned Daredevil from a tepid-selling comic into an industry-wide success story, doubling its sales within three years. Lawyer by day and costumed vigilante by night, the character of Daredevil was the perfect vehicle for the explorations of heroic ideals and violence that would come to define Miller’s work.   
Frank Miller’s Daredevil and the Ends of Heroism is both a rigorous study of Miller’s artistic influences and innovations and a reflection on how his visionary work on Daredevil impacted generations of comics publishers, creators, and fans. Paul Young explores the accomplishments of Miller the writer, who fused hardboiled crime stories with superhero comics, while reimagining Kingpin (a classic Spider-Man nemesis), recuperating the half-baked villain Bullseye, and inventing a completely new kind of Daredevil villain in Elektra. Yet, he also offers a vivid appreciation of the indelible panels drawn by Miller the artist, taking a fresh look at his distinctive page layouts and lines.  
A childhood fan of Miller’s Daredevil, Young takes readers on a personal journey as he seeks to reconcile his love for the comic with his distaste for the fascistic overtones of Miller’s controversial later work. What he finds will resonate not only with Daredevil fans, but with anyone who has contemplated what it means to be a hero in a heartless world.   
Other titles in the Comics Culture series include Twelve-Cent Archie, Wonder Woman: Bondage and Feminism in the Marston/Peter Comics, 1941-1948, and Considering Watchmen: Poetics, Property, Politics.

About the Author

PAUL YOUNG is an associate professor of film and media studies at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. He is the author of The Cinema Dreams Its Rivals: Media Fantasy Films from Radio to the Internet.

Praise For Frank Miller's Daredevil and the Ends of Heroism (Comics Culture)

"Part of what makes Young's book so readable and compelling is the knowledge that, underneath all of the analysis, there is a highly intelligent man who knows the boy he was, struggling to figure out what to make of this creator whose early work meant—and continues to mean—so much to him."

— Los Angeles Review of Books

"This analysis of the man without fear—rendered by the man without fear of merciless vigilante violence—makes for exceptional reading … Unlike far too many ponderous, jargon-laden academic studies, Young gives us a refreshingly conversational and astutely engaging exploration of the visual genius and often warped sensibilities of one of the most important practitioners of the comics form."

— Print Magazine

"Young's warm veneration of Miller's aesthetic and disdain for his fascist tendencies make for a personal and engaging read, even for those who are not fans of comics or graphic novels … Highly recommended."

— Choice

"An incisive and focused discussion of an understudied era in the Daredevil series that provides a rewarding exploration of how the superhero reflects and shapes broader areas of culture."

— José Alaniz

"Knowledgeable with regard to the commercial and aesthetic contexts of the superhero genre, but also willing to risk more personal reflection, Young helps us to read these pivotal, powerful works of popular culture afresh."

— Benjamin Saunders

"Young’s Daredevil will be a necessary resource for personal research on subjects such as ‘auteur’ comics, the ‘gritty’ turn in superhero fiction, and the role of ethics and religion in superhero comics."

— Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics

"Frank Miller’s Daredevil and the Ends of Heroism joins superb formal analysis to searching moral self-reflection as Young charts his growing disillusionment with Miller’s work without losing sight of the qualities that drew him to it in the first place. If comics studies has yet to fully resolve or even approach the contradictions of Frank Miller, Paul Young has at least shown us one way we can start."

— Journal of Comics and Culture

— Choice

"A deeply personal, informative, and astutely analytical work which paints the moral complexities and themes coursing through Miller’s work on Daredevil in the 1970s and 1980s."

— Studies in Comics

"The author delves deeply into the life and work of Frank Miller, his influences, his vision of Daredevil and how he successfully re-engineered the Man Without Fear and his rogue’s gallery and supporting cast. Full-color page and scene reproductions from Miller’s run on Daredevil are examined and the author fleshes out how Miller’s innovative layouts, story-telling techniques and unique take on the character changed the way superheroes were viewed."

— Collector's Corner